Front Office Newsbeat
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Some great insights into MLB front offices by Eno Harris.
“We were in an era where a lot of great statistical analysis was being done on the internet,” one respondent reminisced, “but now the internet is far behind right now due to the proprietary data the teams have.”
There was some brain drain, as many of yesterday’s blogging analysts now pepper front offices, such as Houston’s Mike Fast and Chicago’s Jeremy Greenhouse, among others. But if more data were available, this baseball person was sure that the public would produce another crop of great analysts: “Today’s people could be there, but they’ve got one hand tied behind their back—teamwork is so much richer.”
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
What it really comes down to, though, is why should they care? In many cases, the style of hiring that teams are used to has had decent-to-great results, with the best-case scenario being the two front offices that just made the World Series. As we discussed in our previous work, there are studies that suggest in the “outside” business world, increased diversity in the workplace does lead to higher success for the company, but there have been no such studies in the small and rarefied world of baseball. However, it’s hard to believe that baseball would be some sort of weird exception.
As it is, that’s the case we have to make. We recognize that there are people reading this article who have many different opinions on the concept of what is commonly called “affirmative action.” When you start talking about race and who gets hired for what job, it’s bound to open up a rather large can of worms. The thing about baseball is that the league has no ability to mandate that the teams hire anyone. So, if MLB (or any of the readers out there) want to make the case that increasing the number of racial and ethnic minorities in the front office is a good goal, they’ll have to make the case that it’s a good business decision. Maybe that was the entire point of the Selig Rule: to nudge people out of their comfort zone a little bit.
There isn’t an easy answer that goes with this one, and that’s not a cop out. These are really complex issues. We can see that the Selig Rule “worked” to at least a small degree, but past that, there’s not a lot that MLB can actively do on the matter, and if we’re talking about GMs, then the effects of whatever they do come up with might not be felt for another decade. As frustrating as a conclusion as that might be, that’s the way things are right now. But it’s also an opportunity.
To echo a point we made in our previous work, if a team’s hiring practices are (unintentionally) screening people out based on demographics, are they also systematically screening people out who have brilliant ideas? More than anything, I think that’s the argument that would win the day.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
They’ve always said it was inevitable, but the later in the season it got, a little doubt started to creep in.
Chairman Tom Ricketts and president Theo Epstein hammered out a new deal that will keep Epstein in charge of the Cubs’ baseball operations for five more years. Epstein’s contract had been set to expire at season’s end.
The deal surpasses the $8 million annually that Dodgers baseball czar Andrew Friedman garnered in fall 2014 to become their president of baseball operations, sources said. Friedman’s deal had been an industry standard.
Worth every penny.
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Kim Ng is a trailblazer. Since 2011, she’s been Major League Baseball’s senior vice president of baseball operations, working under Joe Torre. When she was hired as the Yankees’ assistant general manager in 1998, she was the youngest in MLB history (at 29) to hold the position and one of only three women. She served the same role with the Dodgers for more than a decade. Before that, she was the youngest person and only woman to present salary arbitration cases. Many believe Ng (pronounced “Ang”) will become the first female general manager in a major sport.
In this Q&A with Excelle Sports, Ng talks about whether she wants to be a GM, the realities of being a woman in baseball, and whether the game will adopt an international draft.
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